Watching my 13-year-old daughter's soccer team makes me nuts. It really does. The girls are tough. They play with heart. And they get better every year. But they still make me nuts. Especially when someone braks away for a shot on goal.

Parents, raise your hands. You feel my pain? I played soccer in my youth, so I can see what they should do. I can see the move, the opening. But often, the kid barrels down the field, eyes staring down at the ball, and kicks it right into the clutches of a very relieved goalie.


I am not one of those parents—the ones who think they know better than the coach. In fact, I know he gives them the same advice I would: Look up, make a move, wait for the goalie to react . . . then shoot!

Put even simpler: Slow it down.

Great athletes know this. They say the game "slows down" for them, particularly at critical moments. That's why a baseball or tennis player can read the spin of a baseball or tennis ball when it looks like a blur to the rest of us. That's how a wide receiver can elevate between clinging defenders and snare a spiraling bullet, maybe with one hand. Or how a point guard can decipher an opening in a swarming defense and pass the ball to a teammate for an easy shot when no one else in the arena—not even the opposing players—see the gap.

The fastest way to your goal isn't always fast.

Like on that soccer breakaway, the best strategy is to, well, have a strategy—and patience.

Create a plan.
Refine the plan.
Work the plan.
Then score!

Barreling straight ahead, head down, without a clue is a recipe for failure. And, yet, that's how too many of us approach our careers, our relationships, our lives.

Then we wonder why we don't reach our goals, why we can't score.

Now let me be clear: Slowing it down doesn't mean being passive. it doesn't mean sitting at your desk and surfing the net, waiting for success to bite you in the ass. Won't happen.

It means picking your head up and assessing the landscape in front of you—your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges.

It means emphasizing your strengths and fortifying your weaknesses.

It means tackling the opportunities with an understanding of the challenges, roadblocks, and pitfalls.

It means taking your shot!

And that's all you want, your shot. You may not score. You might miss the goal completely. The obstacle in your path might be too much to overcome.

But at least you've taken your shot. And if you slowed down as you raced toward your goal, it'll also be your best shot.

Roy S. Johnson
Men's Fitness
Editor In Chief



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